Your plain-english guide to 2017’s most ex­cit­ing soft­ware p50

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Few pro­grams in re­cent years have proved as con­tro­ver­sial – or as pop­u­lar – as Kodi. On one level it’s a bril­liant mu­sic and video player, let­ting you stream con­tent be­tween com­put­ers. If you con­nect your lap­top to your TV with an HDMI ca­ble you’ll also be able to ac­cess and watch ev­ery­thing on the big screen of your tele­vi­sion.

Kodi – known as XBMC un­til 2014 – also ex­cels at on­line stream­ing. It gives you ac­cess to all kinds of add-ons that ex­pand its ba­sic fea­tures, so you can watch Youtube, iplayer, out-of-copy­right movies and a whole host of other video con­tent straight from one con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion. In ad­di­tion, you can lis­ten to hun­dreds of ra­dio sta­tions from around the world, view all your pho­tos and stream pod­casts.

Ad­vanced users should con­sider in­stalling cus­tom builds to trans­form Kodi’s fea­tures. This adds more ways to watch and lis­ten to your con­tent.

All this is per­fectly le­gal. But some de­vel­op­ers have built add-ons for it that let users stream copy­righted ma­te­rial, such as films, TV shows and even live broad­casts of foot­ball matches. Copy­right hold­ers aren’t happy. In­deed, the FA is ex­plor­ing how it can ex­er­cise new pow­ers granted by the High Court to block il­le­gal streams. Kodi it­self is plan­ning le­gal ac­tion against peo­ple sell­ing TV boxes with the soft­ware pre-in­stalled, and the po­lice are crack­ing down too. In Fe­bru­ary they ar­rested five peo­ple sell­ing Kodi boxes.

You won’t find ad­vice on where to buy th­ese boxes in this fea­ture. In­stead we’re fo­cus­ing on what Kodi was orig­i­nally built for – or­gan­is­ing and watch­ing your me­dia files, and dis­cov­er­ing le­gal con­tent to watch on­line. Read on and we’ll ex­plain how to in­stall and use the lat­est ver­sion of Kodi (called Kryp­ton) and how to add all your videos, mu­sic and pho­tos. We’ll also re­veal our favourite add-ons, and ex­plain how to in­stall Apollo, one of Kodi’s best cus­tom builds. All you need to do is sit back, press play and en­joy.

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